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Louis Jadot's 2010 Reds

Natural selection was the key to Pinot Noir quality in Burgundy's 2010 vintage
Photo by: Jennifer Fiedler
After more than 40 years at Louis Jadot, Jacques Lardière is stepping down as winemaker in 2012.

Posted: Feb 8, 2012 1:20pm ET

The Louis Jadot portfolio of wines—drawing on more than 150 appellations—makes it an excellent reference point for any given vintage. See my previous blog for tasting notes on the domaine's 2010 white Burgundies. Longtime Jadot winemaker Jacques Lardière is passing the reins to his successor, Frédéric Barnier, with the 2012 vintage, and both were present during my visit. Here are my notes on the 2010 Pinot Noirs.

On average, according to Lardière and Barnier, the 2010 yields for the reds were 30 percent less than in a normal year. In the Côte de Beaune, they were reduced by as much as 40 percent, depending on the appellation, while the Côte de Nuits witnessed about 20 to 25 percent less crop.

In general, there was more rain in the Côte de Beaune, leading to a stricter selection in the vineyards and on sorting tables; there was also hail in Santenay that reduced yields.

"It's because of this low yield that we have made good [red] wines in 2010," said Lardière.

I tasted a fine range of reds at Louis Jadot, 44 in all. Most are potentially outstanding. The reds are still in barrel, about to be racked, therefore unfinished wines.

The samples were approximate blends, depending on the number of barrels and percentage of new oak. Here are my favorites, covering a range of appellations, from both the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. The wines were tasted non-blind.

The Savigny-lès-Beaune Aux Guettes 2010 (Domaine Gagey) comes from a vineyard on the north flank of Savigny's vineyards, about the same altitude as Aux Vergelesses. It delivers attractive aromas and flavors of spicy cherry and strawberry fruit, framed by oak and matched to a firm, linear, stony profile, tight on the finish despite its length (87-90, non-blind).

From the opposite flank of vineyard, just under the A6 Autoroute to Paris and Lyon, lies the Savigny-lès-Beaune La Dominode (Domaine Jadot). About 50 percent of normal yield was harvested there, due to biodynamic farming, according to Lardière. This revealed aromas of black cherry, currant and smoky oak, very concentrated, rich and round, with good acid and firm, integrated tannins (88-91, non-blind).

The Monthélie Champs Fulliot (Domaine Jadot), now in its third vintage, displays pure cherry and raspberry aromas. Marked by oak, it's nonetheless elegant, suave and harmonious, with fine length (87-90, non-blind). Nearby lies Volnay Clos de la Barre, a monopole farmed, but not owned, by Jadot. It has a well of deep blackberry, black currant and smoke, very rich, dense and muscular (89-92, non-blind). Think Pommard in Volnay clothing.

If vrai Pommard is your thing, look for the Rugiens (Domaine Jadot). Smoky notes frame black cherry and blackberry, with a hint of iron, but this has class, unraveling its black fruit flavors on a bed of mineral and firm, refined tannins. Superb length (90-93, non-blind). Jadot's Beaune Clos des Ursules (from Heritiers Louis Jadot) is the firm's flagship Côte de Beaune and in 2009 and 2005 represented fabulous value. Planted in 1954 and 1972, this is a big mouthful of Pinot Noir, sumptuous, yet backed by a firm, vibrant structure, with extra layers of cherry, green olive, burning vine cuttings and very special old-vine character (90-93, non-blind).

Moving on to the Côte de Nuits, the Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts exhibits smoky autumn aromas, its black cherry fruit submerged at the moment. But this is silky, classy, elegant and long, if a bit raw now (89-92, non-blind). The Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées (Domaine Jadot) smells of oak, with chalk and stone, tensile and linear, tight and long (90-93, non-blind).

If Beaune Clos des Ursules is the Côte de Beaune flagship, then I would vote for Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques as Jadot's Côte de Nuits counterpart. Its ripe, intense nose of black cherry and blackberry combines the fresh fruit of the vintage and old-vine sappiness, powering through the long finish (91-94, non-blind)

At the grand cru level, Clos St.-Denis (Domaine Gagey) is special for its exotic sandalwood, raspberry and Eastern spice aroma profile. It's still tight, yet displays a cohesion and balance, with a long, sweet fruit- and spice-filled finish (91-94, non-blind). The Bonnes Mares (Domaine Jadot) is a "wow" wine, ripe, fresh and spicy; beautiful expression of violet, black cherry, black currant fruit, rich, sumptuous and expressive, structured and long (92-95, non-blind).

The Musigny (Domaine Jadot) was surprisingly rich, yet oh so silky, elegant and harmonious, offering black cherry, strawberry (fraises de bois); it's suave, supple and mouthfilling, with incredible length (93-96, non-blind). Of the six 2010 grands crus from Gevrey, the Clos de Bèze (Domaine Jadot) was my favorite, offering a huge mouthful of black cherry, plum and black currant. Dense, powerful, this is special, with both concentration and finesse. Almost overpowering now, but with freshness, energy and incredible length (93-96, non-blind).

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